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Ogi offers Swiss assistance in Middle East crisis

Israeli troops launched major offensives in retaliation for the killing of two soldiers

(Keystone)

The Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, has repeated that Switzerland is ready to assist efforts to stem the escalating conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Ogi made the offer on Friday, after Israeli troops launched retaliatory attacks in the West Bank and Gaza, following the lynching of two soldiers by angry crowds of Palestinians.

Ogi said Switzerland was willing to extend its "good offices" to help stem the violence. He was speaking in the German town of Constance, where he appealed for both sides to stop the fighting.

His comments come after the foreign ministry called on Israel to exercise restraint. Spokeswoman, Monika Schmutz said the Israelis should pull back from "using a disproportionate amount of force".

The violence erupted two weeks ago following a visit to a Jerusalem mosque by right-wing Israeli opposition leader, Ariel Sharon. Since then, intensifying violence has killed more than 100 people, the overwhelming majority of them Palestinians.

swissinfo with agencies

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